Virginia Tech tops Georgia in men's basketball, 74-62

By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 7, 2009

BLACKSBURG, VA. -- In recent weeks, Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney said that something with his shot did not feel right. And because the Hokies had played each of their previous four games away from home, he was unable to put in the extra gym time.

Delaney came early to each practice during the week and worked out for 20 minutes with Coach Seth Greenberg on Saturday. On Sunday, Delaney showed that the hard work paid off with the third 30-point game of his career in the Hokies' 74-62 win over Georgia at Cassell Coliseum.

"I just had to work on some shots to work on my balance and work on some other ways to get me into the groove of the game," said Delaney, who had 31 points and added five assists. "I knew what was going on, and I was waiting to get back home so I could get back in the gym."

In a solid showing against a quality nonconference opponent, the Hokies (6-1) shot a season-high 47.2 percent and played solid interior defense. Shutting down Georgia's forwards was key because the Bulldogs run their offense through the post.

Georgia (4-3) has a cast of talented forwards, and the Hokies keyed on sophomore Trey Thompkins. He made 0 of 6 shots from the field and had five points off free throws.

"We did a really good job on Thompkins," Greenberg said. "That guy's a really, really good player."

Virginia Tech held a 15-point lead early in the second half as a result of a flourish to end the first half.

With 30 seconds remaining, Georgia's Ricky McPhee stole a pass from Delaney intended for Dorenzo Hudson. But Hudson hustled down the court and stuffed McPhee's layup attempt. The Hokies got the ball after Hudson's block, and Delaney nailed a three-pointer as time expired.

"That was an unbelievable hustle play," Greenberg said. "That was pure effort."

In some ways, Hudson's play embodied a philosophy that Greenberg has preached since the fall. He tracks a list of his so-called absolutes. That list includes not quitting on a play, going after 50-50 balls and being first to the floor.

"I knew if I didn't get back on defense," Hudson said, "Coach would yell at me."

The negatives for Virginia Tech were its unusually high amount of turnovers (14) and the continued foul troubles of forward Jeff Allen.

Although Allen is Virginia Tech's second-best scoring option, he has been forced to come off the bench in order to be preserved for the end of games. On Sunday, Allen had four fouls in only 20 minutes. Allen and forward Victor Davila each had 11 points.

But Delaney was dangerous, even though he said he has recently had trouble with his shot. During the week, he worked at shooting off screens as opposed to practicing set shots. He arrived at Cassell Coliseum about 45 minutes before the team's morning shoot-around to put in more work.

He also wore a flashy new pair of sneakers. He said they were Kobe Bryant's design by Nike. Delaney joked that he wore the sneakers because Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star, hit a game winning three-pointer on Friday against Miami.

Delaney smiled and then added, "Maybe it gave me some luck."

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